unding -James Mugambi got wind on plans by Equity Bank to acquire his micro-finance and jumped into it without a second thought.
Being among the owners of the thriving financial venture that had grown by lips and bounds into Ugandan market, Mr. Mugambi divulged that Equity Holdings offered a mouthwatering price of a whopping sh 1.8 billion which they couldn’t resist. It was worth.
This acquisition was customized in what could be referred as a share swap manner. For instance, Mugambi and his partner Tim Carson both who founded the Micro Kenya which moved to Micro-Africa and later which bought Uganda Microfinance, left Nairobi in 2000. His main aim was to start something that would lend money to private sector. He focused on check off system.
“Upon setting shop in Uganda, we realized that there were investment opportunities and diversified into business lending,” James Mugambi told a local daily.
He added that with the growth they were witnessing, they had to work on selling out their brand to be able to expand and capture the available market. This according to Mugambi worked well and very fast because of their experience and good services to their clients.
“We had a five-year investment plan. We identified our weaknesses and learnt from other successful financial institutions that sold the brand first rather than personality”.
The duo then expanded to Rwanda market under the brand name of Rwanda Microfinance which centered its services on loaning private employees and traders. It grew very fast as Rwanda, by then, was trying to rebuild their economy from the 1994 genocide blow.
With their towering name around the continent, in 2006 Micro-Africa took over microfinance programme in South Sudan from the American Refugee Committee and renamed it Finance South Sudan FSS. It started giving loans to both groups and individuals with the main aim being to fight poverty.
They also sent to Tanzania where they reportedly acquired a 25 percent stake in micro lender Tujijenge Tanzania. The two astute would later decide to sell out their stakes in all these firms to Letshego Holdings Ltd in Botwana. They exchanged with billions.
As if they were not tired with their dream, they picked up another business with the same idea and named it Premier Credit Limited – still a micro finance company targeting small and medium sized companies. They had to invite financiers.
“Even in failures there are successes. Success in the sense that you learn from mistakes and avoid them next time you are into something similar,” Mugambi advises young entrepreneurs.
His role model include James Mwangi – the current Chief Executive Officer Equity Group Holdings – who he claims turned a mere building society into a multi-billion regional bank.
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